SADC, EAC urged to take communication services to rural areas

TANZANIA has appealed to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the East African Communications Organisation (EACO) to take communication services to rural areas of respective countries.

Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) Director General, James Kilaba (pictured) said in Dar es Salaam yesterday that bridging the digital divide was of profound importance for uplifting people’s living standards.

He said this as he closed a two-day joint EACO-SADC meeting organised to deliberate on and come up with a common position for the upcoming World Radio Communication (WRC-19) meeting in November this year.

Mr Kilaba told EACO-SADC officials from 20 countries that sustainable development should not be discriminatory, but be focused on benefiting the people in their respective areas because they had a key role to play in bringing about development in the region and the countries involved.

“The majority of people in Africa live in rural areas and the population is dispersed.

There have been many efforts from different organisations such as Google, Facebook and others to ensure these people are connected with the rest of the world. Such efforts should be encouraged,” he noted.

He urged 32 delegates from EACO-SADC regions to give special attention and consideration to nay WRC-19 agenda item which sought spectrum that would provide a cost effective connectivity solution in rural areas.

“The wireless communication is among the cost effective means to connect dispersed populations in rural and underserved areas.

Let us use this opportunity to come up with the agenda that will address the African environment and will be worked upon for the cycle of four years of WRC-19 for improving communication in Africa.”

However, he expressed satisfaction as radio-communication services for satellite, maritime, aeronautical and armature were among the agenda items discussed during the two-day meeting.

He explained that satellites played a significant role in communication reachability especially in Africa, where the population was dispersed.

“Maritime and aeronautical services are vital for the transport industry and require high attention in terms of spectrum needs and security.

Any new technologies to enhance development of such an industry should be supported provided there is no interference in other services,” he said.

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Author: SUNDAY NEWS Reporter

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